As I’ve repeatedly and happily mentioned, last year I moved to Iowa and received a concealed carry permit. The part of Iowa where I live is just a few miles from Illinois, and I am often in Illinois for work and recreation. As a result, there are some days when I end up leaving my concealed carry pistol at home, since while I can lawfully carry in Iowa and many other states, carrying in Illinois would be a felony. My thoughts on this type of situation are below:
Many of our criminal laws are very similar, between jurisdictions. This is because some conduct is universally wrong, leading every state to forbid that conduct. For example, every state bans murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and arson. No state bans learning to do math, helping elderly ladies cross the street, or baking cookies, as such activities are universally right (or at least neutral).
Indeed, having uniform laws is a goal of our legal system, as such uniformity promotes commerce and free movement between different states. A lack of uniformity can stifle commerce, since those conducting business across state lines have the burden of learning and abiding by another set of law.
This can be such a problem that courts will actually strike down state laws that are so inconsistent with each other as to unreasonably hamper interstate commerce. That is exactly what happened in Bibb v. Navajo Freight Lines, Inc., 359 U.S. 520 (1959). In that case, different states required different mud flap designs on semi trucks, such that a truck driver going between the states could have to change his or her mud flaps dozens of times – or face criminal prosecution. The Supreme Court very correctly struck down these laws as undue restrictions on interstate commerce.
Gun control laws tend to lack uniformity between jurisdictions, and I see that as evidence that such laws are inherently unjust. It simply doesn’t make sense that carrying a concealed pistol in Iowa and most other states is perfectly lawful, while doing in Illinois is a felony.
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